Allstate’s Andy Zitney Is Disrupting How Insurance Does Technology

May 27, 2015 Paul M. Davis

sfeatured-CFSummitDuring a keynote presentation at the Cloud Foundry Summit 2015, Andy Zitney, senior vice president of infrastructure services at Allstate, offered a wide-angle view of deploying disruptive technologies within a large enterprise. Zitney’s talk, “Developing the Freedom to Disrupt”, covered not only his experiences within the 90-year-old insurance company, but also his time working in financial services. Cloud Foundry has played a critical role in transforming how these companies innovate within a defined corporate structure, he explained. “They all suffer…from the lack of a platform to drive change,” Zitney said, “but then comes along Cloud Foundry. A great platform for a technologist, but even better for someone who wants a change in an industry and a change in how the company thinks.”

The goal of Zitney’s team at Allstate was to transform the company’s infrastructure services in a manner that “technology drive[s] business as a technology, and not let the business drive the technology.” Given the company’s upward momentum among consumers and in the stock market in recent years, it was difficult to make the case to disrupt its technological infrastructure. The approach Zitney’s team advocated was one in which new applications and services were developed in real-time, through close collaboration among stakeholders, rather than releasing discrete products after a long development time.

Moreover, the switch to a more agile development approach had to be made without the company sacrificing the quality of ongoing customer services, which include processing over 18,000 claims per day and managing the second-largest roadside assistance program in the United States. Despite these figures, Zitney stated, it’s increasingly critical that the company change how it does business. “Everybody is going to disrupt the insurance industry,” he said. “It hasn’t been disrupted in eighty-plus years.”

Part and parcel with disrupting how they deliver technology, Cloud Foundry has also prompted Allstate to transform its developer methodology to meet the capabilities of the platform. After six months of using Pivotal Cloud Foundry, Allstate developers are delivering workable environments within 90-180 days, a major change within a risk-averse industry such as insurance services.

The challenge within such an enterprise becomes not the technology—Zitney swore by Pivotal Cloud Foundry’s ability to provision a development environment within 15 minutes—but what the company will build and deliver on top of this platform. The goal, Zitney said, is to be able to deploy a minimal viable product on a Friday that has been envisioned by developers and product managers on a Monday. This requires a shift in not only development approaches but the mentality and corporate culture.

By empowering developers to provision an environment and begin coding within minutes rather than months, an enterprise can not only greatly increase efficiency and reduce cost, but also have the freedom to experiment and innovate without great risk. Moreover, the test-driven development approach that Pivotal Cloud Foundry enables cuts back on delivery risk, reducing defects and increasingly the stability of the products and services released to customers.

In the long view, Zitney detailed, this shift not only allows large enterprises to innovate, but also scale their services at a speed and level of effectiveness that would have once been unimaginable.

Watch Andy Zitney’s keynote presentation at the Cloud Foundry Summit 2015 to learn more about how Pivotal Cloud Foundry drives innovation within the enterprise:

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